I have a favorite true story, sitting in a train station late at night. The station is under renovation. Plywood walls are erected between some of the tracks and platforms. A man sits on a bench: dark glasses, cane, veteran’s cap. I know he is blind. He stands and signs ‘peace’ as a train rattles through the basement terminal two platforms over. He signals to the onboard passengers, though none can see him because of a plywood barricade he doesn’t know is there.
I am interested in how unfamiliar architecture drives narrative events, how a sequence of appropriated boxes shapes character, how shared travel makes for the most beautifully flawed thing in this world: a first conversation. I’ve never met a person with a tiny house who doesn’t love to host a party. I’ve never met a room that hasn’t told me where to sit, or convinced me it didn’t hold something back, some unexpected depth, danger, or vulnerability. The train station is always under renovation in ways that are invisible, and we are all blind to the obstacles.
I make art, not to eliminate doubt from our notion of the world and not in an attempt to define the inexplicable. Rather, in a Deleuze-ian sense, to reveal the differences. I do this by putting myself in a place, and interpreting, because more than anything, I like to live in the spaces between what is said and what isn’t. I feel a place, any place, only becomes real when we are in that conversation, when we are exploring a new relationship. I am not trying to illuminate the obstacles, but to see how we cope with them, or as is often the case, learn whose obstacles they are.
Whether a train station or sketched lines of dialog, these frameworks wholly exist, even before we are aware of them. They are intended for one purpose and co-opted to others. Between the platforms, emotional fits merge in a long, architecturally bounded, actualized present. This is why I make art, to meditate on the practice of conversation, to wonder at its architecture, what is spoken and what is unspoken, and what is the difference.